Texas woman's execution halted; DA won't appeal

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EXECUTION HALTED– This undated file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Kimberly McCarthy, who is on death row in Texas for the 1997 killing of a neighbor during a robbery. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice, File)

 

by Michael Graczyk

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The first woman scheduled to be executed in the U.S. since 2010 won a reprieve Tuesday, mere hours before she was scheduled to be taken to the Texas death chamber.

State District Judge Larry Mitchell, in Dallas, rescheduled Kimberly McCarthy’s punishment for April 3 so lawyers for the former nursing home therapist could have more time to pursue an appeal focused on whether her predominantly White jury was improperly selected on the basis of race. McCarthy is Black.

Dallas County prosecutors, who initially contested the motion to reschedule, chose to not appeal the ruling.

District Attorney Craig Watkins said the 60-day delay was “appropriate.” If no irregularities are discovered, he said he’d move forward with the execution.

“We want to make sure everything is done correctly,” he said.

The 51-year-old McCarthy was convicted and sent to death row for the 1997 stabbing, beating and robbery of a 71-year-old neighbor. She learned of the reprieve less than five hours before she was scheduled for lethal injection, already in a small holding cell a few feet from the death chamber at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit.

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